Throughout the development of West Park within Wolverhampton, the park became a community project with members of the public coming together in many different ways to improve the look and feel of the space.
The park’s crowning glory, the conservatory, was built in 1896, with the proceeds of the town’s Floral Fete, held every year in the park. The large floral fete was then held in West Park between 1889 and 1939 and provided a place for people to exchange plants they had grown their own to raise money for the park and created a community event for everyone working within the area. It got people from industrial communities to begin to appreciate nature by coming into the park for a community event but also gave them a sense of belonging as they all came together to raise funds for a space that could provide healing within the community.
Within my Offsite 9 project I will recreate the idea of the floral fete within West Park, highlighting the reparative history element of BAS9 as well as the tactics of togetherness through the actions of a plant swap.
Inspired by the form of the traditional fete stand and elements of the park and what it means to the community, myself and members of the community will create a stand structure that will then be host to a plant swap in April 2022, recreating the community plant fetes that once helped the development of the park. Here members of the community from across Wolverhampton can drop off and pick up any plant of their choice.
Part of the stand will be made up on contributions of images, drawings, paintings and photos of plants from across the community. Entries will open in December 2021.
To get involved in the project or donate plants to the plant swap please contact me.
This project is supported by Creative Black Country as part of Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places scheme and Paycare.